Posted tagged ‘Snowstorm’

NIGHT SURPRISE

January 29, 2018

I was raking old leaves this weekend, wearing a sweater . . .  but the Far North gives us surprises –

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This was taken about 4:30 this morning. We were having such a beautiful snowfall  . . .  I kept going around to all the windows and taking pictures (as though we’d never had snow before!).     The deck lights added so many little patterns  –

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There are nine or so inches on my deck railing and bench right now.    I know a lot of people  must have wakened  up to this “surprise”;  no one seems to have heard any weather report predicting this much snow.

The whole world looks so different under all this snow.         See those two small parallel white lines against the tree trunk?   —

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Those two parallel lines are big Poison Ivy vines that  had been growing  all the way up that tall tree, and then they were ripped off  in a big storm.    They let go of the tree and just fell off.    No one is too willing to go and get them out of the creek where they fell.

Usually you can’t see them too well just behind my pond  (which is all that white in the foreground)  and when everything is colored in  the same brown tones.   But snow outlines everything in a thick soft covering, accentuating some things, obscuring other things.

Schools are closed.  My class is canceled.   The snowplows will not come today, and neither will the mailman.

But then there’s the driveway to think about.       (Think:  good exercise)

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Can’t get out on the roads to go (cross-country)  skiing anyway.     In fact,  looking at that snowbank at the end of the driveway,  I’ll be staying home for a while.    And when the snowplows come,  that snowbank is just going to get higher.

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There is a thin light snowfall right now,  but when we get a puff of wind,  the snow on the branches comes down in a cascade of tennis ball size chunks.

Now that I’m all snowed in,  I’m supposed to be enjoying the couch by a big window in my front room,, and reading and knitting . . .    but –

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Can’t keep my eyes off this scene.

I’m easily distracted.

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CHRISTMAS DAYS

December 28, 2017

We participated in our country’s Christmas snowstorms.    Enjoy a little snowy drive with  me.

It’s enough to give weather forecasting a bad name:

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See that weather forecast for  O   in.  of precipitation?    As in no inches for Christmas Day.    Well,  this is what it was doing outside:

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About 7 inches, Christmas Day.  Not as much as what some of you had, I know.

It was beautiful, but I had to drive out  to Christmas Mass in all that snow.   Snow  plows on vacation, I think.

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Other cars had gone before me and cleared some tracks.  Honestly,  it was a pretty day.

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Roads got better in the city, but it was harder to see.

Here’s the skyline of our little city with the big capitol building right straight up ahead:

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Our clock tower:

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I was going to make it in time,   to a snowy, misty church building —

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Again,  really lovely in the snowfall.

Sleepy as I was that early in the morning and challenging as the drive was,  I’m glad I made the effort.    It always feels better after being present for a Mass,  feels brighter and stronger inside me;    and then,  even the sky changed on my way home.

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The sky had turned an “innocent blue”   in just about an hour.

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On my way into the city, I could hardly see the beautiful  campus I drive through,  but now the buildings could be seen clearly.

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I always enjoy their classic beauty.   This   is just one  little peek.     It’s a large Big Ten campus.   There’s a very nice “other” church in the  campus area:

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It’s one of those friendly, all-purpose churches where there’s nothing too much to believe in, you just have to be nice, be friendly to everyone.  I think it’s called an “open”  church.  I’ve been inside when one of my children had a concert in there.  It’s really, really pretty, all stone, even around the large wrap-around second-story choir lofts.     Stone walls, stone floors.     Dark wood benches, if I remember correctly.     Like the inside of a castle . . . .

Arriving home, the clouds returned,  but everything was nice and frosted in my neighborhood  –

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Ready to have my little California family start their Christmas Day.

Later on those California people and Son traveled all the way off to festivities in Detroit on a day of plunging temperatures.    Here are Detroiters, bundled up in  -9 degrees:

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That’s  minus 9.   Bundled up !  and watching fireworks.

Daughter’s face;  playing around — outdoors:

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They all had brought their ice skates but there was too many other things to do in the city.

Cities can be so glamorous during Christmas holiday season.

Cold too, so they had “warming centers”  which were actually pretty nice.    Here are the three big guys of my little family at an activity center in the “warming tent”:

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Weather was a big player in our Christmas celebrations.

 

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One big holiday recommendation:   Forget what all the critics are saying about the new Star Wars movie, positive or negative.  Just go see   Star Wars: The Last Jedi – and preferably in 3D!    Enjoy the fun!

‘Tis the Season for merriment!!!!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A FAR NORTH SNOW STORY

December 13, 2017

(Got time for a    s   l  o   w       little snow story?)

There are 18 more days until 2018;  and this afternoon it was 19 degrees with 19 m.p.h. winds –  which makes it a lot colder.
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Supposed to be Recorder practice day.  We were going to do Christmas songs.   Looked forward to that, but this got in the way:

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That’s the window looking out over my desk in my study, or library, whatever it’s called.

Weatherman said at one time this afternoon it was coming down an inch an hour.  Looks like about 8 inches on my deck railings.

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That’s about four inches there, but  it kept on piling up.   The roads weren’t going to be very good, so all “electives” were canceled, including our music.

But snow that deep has to be taken off the driveway.   Shoveled.     My two across-the-street neighbors were already out there shoveling their own driveways.    I had a quiet afternoon while it got real pretty outside;    reading, dozing off ;    not moving around much, getting thoroughly chilled inside the house.

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Then, time to take care of that driveway because snow-shoveling warms you up.  So does getting into my gigantic new snow parka,  which I put on over a turtleneck, blouse,  a big fuzzy sweater, tied all together with a long scarf .    Getting dressed like that takes some time and  warms you up too.

Then came the long thick over-the-knee socks and my high-tech winter hiking snow boots that I got from a store in the High Sierras.

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Took some doing getting the inner and outer laces and buckles done up.  Those boots will put your feet into a slow bake,  but the time it takes to get them on is worth it if your feet would otherwise be walking through deep, cold snow in less high-tech footgear.

Found my big thick stiff ski gloves and got them finally pulled halfway up my arms  and tied in place.

Opened my front door to go out —

And saw that one of my neighbors had already shoveled my driveway!

All dressed up and no place to go.

Nothing to do out there!    Just had to close the door, come back in, and strip off all that  outer gear.

I owe someone a warm fresh-baked loaf of bread,  but I don’t know who.

 

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Neighborliness in the Far North.

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DADDY MADE A PLAY SPACE

January 24, 2017

(Life underneath a good snowfall) –

I could have entitled this, yet once again:  “Cooper RE-buried!”    but I think Cooper’s Daddy took care to keep him  un-buried.

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That’s my grandson again,  Cooper,  pushing back the snow near his house.  Aren’t they getting cabin fever yet?    Aren’t they beginning to feel a little “suffocated”?     But Cooper and his Daddy and Mommy claim that they love living in the high Sierras, right near where the Donner Party had so much trouble with the snow . . . .   They claim they love the snow because then they have more to play in.

The base at upper Squaw Valley today is:   190 inches!    How many feet is that?

This is pretty close to what Cooper’s back yard looks like:

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Somehow, the kids find each other,  even after a third or fourth week of six-foot snowfalls.  Last weekend it was five.

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Five feet.    This is quite near Cooper’s neighborhood during a snowfall.   I recognize those roads.  I distinctly remember pushing him around in a baby stroller in that neighborhood  —  in the summer.

Wonder what it’s like to really “play” in all that  snow?   Well, before anyone can go skiing or snowboarding,  they have to  PLOW the slopes!

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A Midwestern flatlander like me wonders why they have to plow up there on the peaks.   This is why –

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You can probably recognize what those are;   they’re the lifts, the lift chairs – or the very tops of them.   The snow is too deep for them to work until some of the  snow is removed.

If you need help,  the California Highway Patrol will come – or try to come  –

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Don’t hold your breath.

Better to stay inside your house –

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(I’m pretty sure I pushed Cooper’s stroller past this house too.)

Can you have too much of a good thing?

 

 

BURYING COOPER AGAIN

January 12, 2017

Cooper, the grandson.   Living in the High Sierras.    In the WINTER!

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I wrote a few posts ago about the five or six feet of snow Cooper and his family got last weekend.     And now they have another six feet.

And no electricity.  No cell phone.   I got one last short text from them – and a photo!

I presume school is closed again, because it’s hard getting around on those roads.

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I  know this place.  It’s where you try to find the exit leading into their little mountain village.

You can get around with chains on your tires.

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After the snowfall, you can get around in the village too:

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But when you leave the village and want to go home,  you’ll have to drive on those mountain roads again.

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Say a little prayer for Cooper’s Mommy.    She’s supposed to return home from a business trip today, and it’s quite likely she’s out there on these roads just as I am writing this.  She needs to drive   UP about 3,000 feet of elevation from the airport to her home.

Into the snowstorm.

 

 

WINDING DOWN BEFORE CHRISTMAS

December 12, 2016

(A snapshot of Dec. 10;  just keeping a record.)

Yup, we had that snowstorm.     I was buried today.    Not too bad,  I’ve seen worse –

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This area had about 9 inches of snow today.  That photo is my second  round of shoveling the driveway.  Still hadn’t made it out as far as the mailbox.     I knew I’d have to drive out in the late afternoon, so instead of shoveling all at once,  I did it in   “shifts.”     12:40 . . .  2:30 . . .   4:15.

You might recognize that as pre-game,   half-time,  and  post-game  (or rather between the first and second games.

Now I’m home,  I don’t care how much more snow has fallen,  and I’m enjoying the effect of the “frosting”  on my blue deck lights:

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I can NOT get a good picture that shows how soft and beautiful the lights are.   I think I’ll  go to sleep by that window tonight.

Another view with dramatic lights and shadows, but even less of the blue lights.

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I’ll make good use of my insomnia tonight and just enjoy the winter beauty as I “wind down”  from all the things that have stirred me up during the past week or so.     The usual, of course:  holiday cleaning,  decorating,  gift-buying;   good preparation for the last-classes-of-the -year.   I can “wind down” on that too because we’re just going to take up where we left off after we begin  to meet again.   What I didn’t say or didn’t say well I can try again in January.

There was a flurry of party preparations for a while,  our Annual  Christmas-Movie-Pizza party,   but we had a less elaborate party this year.    We voted to have actual pizza this year,  so all we had to do was eat and enjoy.   I was very, very, very nervous about whether or not my guests would like the movie.    I wanted them to very much.

They did.    In fact,  they seemed to enjoy talking about it,  mulling over it,  letting it sink in,  beyond what I had hoped.       I can relax now.

I must have begun minimizing things,  simplifying,  winding down during the party.     I worked hard on creating an album of our past parties – that was fun –  I’d very much recommend keeping a small album of your own special group of friends…  just gather up photos from the past.

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Here’s a Rule of Life I discovered:  The older you get, the more your past experiences mean to you, so be sure to  record good moments for your future reference!!    But even so,   for some odd reason  I didn’t take one picture during this year’s party.      Not one.

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That’s about all I have left….  some sorry-looking punch.     Good friends cleaned up most of the rest.     The leftover glögg  is outside on the deck,  staying cool.      It won’t freeze with all that . . .  you know,  alcohol doesn’t freeze!

So,  this is  “Random Thoughts in the Spruce Tunnel.”     I’m minimizing my Advent activities too.   Most of it is internal, for me, anyway.    And now I have this to think about:     It is Gaudete Sunday.    Letting up from fasting and penance a little, we focus for a  moment on the  Joyful Event that we’re preparing for.

So it’s  Pink,  not Purple:

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Except I had some discordant thoughts today.    My first quick peek at the news this morning revealed several groups of killings:      Kenya,   a chemical gas truck accident killing a couple dozen;  in Turkey,  an explosion killing about three dozen;   in Egypt, an explosion in a church killing a couple dozen or so;   and back to Africa, Nigeria, where a church roof collapsed, killing  160 people.    Several  stabbings,  shootings, and rapes were reported this weekend in Europe,  courtesy of their  “refugee”  guests.

Not a good way to begin Gaudete Sunday.

And not a good way to end it either,  in the late afternoon,   in one of those modernist-awful new-version of the Church churches….    where the new young priest or deacon or whatever  continually mispronounced   the word “gaudete”   (that’s okay, lots of lay people do),  gave the wrong meaning to the word “gaudet”    and where, after making brief reference to  the purple colors used in Advent and Lent, asked us  what the color purple means.

“Preparation,”   he says.    Purple indicates preparation.

Nope.

I don’t mind mistakes,   but what this young man said in the rest of his sermon displayed a shocking lack of education,   understanding, and knowledge of Church doctrine.    One more generation of this . . .  and it won’t even really matter.

I’ll do “purple” in another post soon.   Did you know there was a Purple Revolution going on?    And I’ll do better on Advent things.

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Right now my biorhythms chart shows my Emotional line  (the red one) scraping bottom.

It’s a good time to slow down,   wind down for a while,  without coming to any specific conclusions.     After all, snowstorms are for warm quilts, hot cocoa,  and a good book in front of the fireplace.

Things can only go up from here!

 

DE-JA-VU-STORM

March 2, 2016

(The lady laments):

Just about the same time as  last week.   Another snowstorm.  Like deja vu .

Which is a very good thing . . . .

Somewhere between 9 and 10 inches of snow today.  No need for a ruler this time.  You can see it two postings ago.   9 1/2 inches.     As I was shoveling – again –  I remembered last week’s Snow Bear —

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But it wasn’t there today.

Missing . . . .

We had had a couple “warm” days  this weekend so the snow bear I had made went away.  But since I was outside shoveling the same snow from the same driveway,  it just seemed like it should be there.

Which reminds me why this snowstorm is a good thing. . ..

And sorry for the dark photos this time.

My laptop and my desktop PC  are gone today.  Gone like that Snow Bear.   And so , too, is all my software for lightening up photos.   

The snowstorm made it a dark day today.

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Big snowflakes.   Dark day.

Dark, dark, dark.  

All the bits and pieces of my brain are in my missing laptop and PC.     So many times today I wanted to check email –  not there –  check the news –  not there –  answer some questions – not there —  find a pretty painting I was reading about — not there.     Dark.

I do love a good snowstorm.   I love having some useful exercise to do.  (I wasn’t planning to drive anywhere,  but shoveling snow just seems – useful.)   I love the beauty that the snow brings, and the geometric patterns on my backyard pond –

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Deja vu on watching pond patterns again, I guess.   I’d lighten that for you and turn up the contrast.   But I can’t.

My laptop and my PC both,  AT THE SAME TIME,  “got sluggish” to the point of being unusable.  My PC was giving me very scary messages like “No operating system found.  Press any key to reboot.”      Yikes.

I saw it coming.   But I delayed taking them in.  I couldn’t figure out what I would be doing without them while they were being fixed.

They’re in good hands now.   Geeks.  Real, genuine, computer geeks.   I’m very confident.  They weren’t much for small talk but they had a large computer vocabulary.    They seemed to appreciate having my computers to work on,  like  “Oh, boy –  an interesting challenge.”    At least I hope that’s what they were thinking.  

No one could have more affection for my laptop and my PC than I have.

So,   I’m glad for a repeat of last week;  another snowstorm to distract me, and all the things that come with a snowstorm:  fireplace, reading, knitting,   hot cocoa,  comfort food,  and a little fresh air.

Not much else to do.      I could write about something serious today,  like we shouldn’t rely on computers so much, especially when it comes to voting, like electronic voting where today in Texas the people who cast votes for Trump report that they watched their vote on the screen get changed to another name —

Computers can do funny things to you.   But I can’t think about that much now.

My brain is in bits and pieces on someone’s work bench right now.

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FLEETING WINTER BEAUTY

February 25, 2016

 (Just a little photo journal  . . .)

I’ve had one long 32-hour distraction!

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It started yesterday with the beginning of our little snowstorm.   Looked up about noon, over my computer keyboard, out the window — and that was the end of all my work.  Can’t concentrate when there’s so much going on outside!

It seems all day long I just went from window to window as though I had never seen a snowstorm before.  The snow and the wind made such beautiful scenes and patterns –

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The pond was no longer good for ice skating and hockey,  but all day there was a swirl of changing patterns.  I don’t know what the aquamarine color was,  but it was a nice touch.  No.    No blue sky to reflect into the ice.

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The little weed tree at the edge of the pond was getting coated with thick, heavy, sticky snow.   Rather artistic for a “weed.”.

I checked the azaleas just outside the bay window:

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Well, they kind of looked the same as the little weed tree at the edge of the pond.

I went to the front of the house:

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I have a Snowball Bush!       Bloomin’ snowballs.

The snow came all day,  sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  I thought in order to keep up with it,  I’d have to shovel the driveway two or three times while it’s falling, or else I’d never be able to move it all at once.  It was wet and heavy!

Of course, this heavy, wet, sticky snow is good for rolling and packing so now I have —

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—  a Snow Bear!

Okay, you can hardly see a white Snow Bear in a snowstorm,  but I had to alternate snow shoveling with . . . some fun.   Came in soaking wet,  just like when I was a little girl.

Today brought pretty much an end to the snowfall,  but we still  had wind,  shadows, patterns, and interesting things.   First I wanted to see how much snow this area got.

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Mid-morning light shows 9 1/2 inches on the ruler.

Everything was covered with snow or painted with snow.

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I think the neighbors across the street won’t mind if I show you their landscaping shrubs:

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Well, as seen through snow falling.

Then I turned to my backyard pond.   It didn’t look the same today!

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Same aquamarine color but darker in a different lighting –  and what are those circles!

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As I kept going back to check on the snow patterns in the pond,  the sun came out —

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So now we have patterns of gray shadows crossing the giant “lily pads.”

The sun added a whole new range of things to look at.    The temperature dropped,  the snow got lighter and dryer,  and as the wind swirled the snow into the air from off the rooftops and trees,  the sunlight lit up each of the tiny frozen particles, and it seemed like the air was filled with a million glittering little diamonds.

I’m not sure even the finest painter could capture the beauty of a bright sunlit snow scene, after a snowstorm,  with the wind still blowing.

You would have to start with paper that is light gray and blue, and then use brushes dipped in all shades of white, and maybe a little silver.

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The scene is no longer fuzzy and dark and subdued,  but bright and full of contrasts.  And if you were an artist,  you’d have to remember to save the brightest white for the forest floor where the sun shines down full onto it.

We’ll lose all this in a few days.   We’re going to have a warming trend.  40 degrees and more.   Not good.   These photos will be my only memory.   Fleeting beauty!

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Kind of a nice bright interlude in the middle of Lent!

 

 

 

 

STORMS OF ANY KIND

February 16, 2015

8 days?   One of the longest silences The Spruce Tunnel has experienced.  Sorry for that.   If I listed all the bad things, difficult things, dangerous things,  frustrating and fearful things that have been going on here in such a short time,  it would sound like a “storm” has been swirling around me.   A storm made of elements bigger than I am.

Some of them will eventually work out well;  some will not.

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I’d rather write about this storm, that swirled up and down my street yesterday, same weather front that millions of Americans are experiencing.   There are storms like this — and there are “storms”  of another kind.

I wanted to stay home because of my “storms.”     Shelter and hide.       It was looking too bad out there.   But I needed about three minutes of Wi-Fi, that’s all,  but it would be worth going out;   and it could be an adventure driving through the snow clouds that whirled around, driven across the street by strong, frigid winds.

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I had to climb through these to get to my car.    Broom, shovel, scraper in hand,  “storms”  bring a lot of extra work just to be able to keep on going.

I didn’t know if these were snowbanks or snowdrifts along the side of my driveway —

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—  but I could see some beauty in the patterns  —  even though  I had to battle the elements just to get into the car.    The icy wind found its way under my hat, through my scarf,  past my gloves,  and up into my arms  . . .   Bare skin!     Brrrrrrrr.

I adjusted all my “protection”  many times while I tried to uncover my car.    Just like Nehemiah’s strong young men  building the city walls of Jerusalem with a trowel or shovel in one hand and a sword to fight off the enemies in the other hand,  so I was trying to keep my scarf and coat on while using the scraper and broom.

When storms swirl around you, expect to get really, physically tired!

Once out onto the highway, though, I was astonished:    The roads were a little okay, but they were busy.   Lots of cars, lots of other people out in the storm.   All the parking lots I passed were filled!    Stores, restaurants, gas stations — all looked busy.

Everyone was going about their business as though there was no storm?

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Here are the snowbanks along the side of the parking lot I was aiming for.   The snowbanks were twice as high as my car,  but I can’t show you that;    it was too cold to get out and do something as frivolous as taking a picture.   You can’t always do the things you want when there are “storms.”

In the midst of the swirling wind,  the sun came out, and this line of trees caught my attention as I came out of the store:

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So, on the way home I marveled at how many people were out, as though it were any busy Saturday on a nice day.   They didn’t seem to be doing  anything different. . . .

And that made me nervous.

I’m seeing storms of all kinds,  surrounding us,  swirling around us,  threatening us,    and . . . life goes on.

There was a man in the parking lot that I was just leaving.   He got out of his car, began to walk, and a big gust of wind blew a cloud of icy snow into him.  He wore an overcoat, unbuttoned,  over a business suit.    The wind nearly tore his coat off.    He was not dressed for the storm.

He and many others had not prepared for the “storms.”    

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I arrived home,  between wind gusts.   Things were calmer for a while.   Mission accomplished with the Wi-Fi.   I took home with me the memory of people walking around amidst the swirling clouds of snow, leaning into the wind,  grasping their coats close to them, but nevertheless,  going about their business.

I deliberately took into my house with me the sense of normalcy amidst the storm.

“Bias to the Normal.”     A survival technique.

 

STAY OFF THE ROADS!!

January 6, 2014

But sometimes you just need to be on the roads so you can “go home.”      After the quick trip to the Far Far North  for our family funeral,  we just had to get home so Son could be at work the next day.    As pharmacist and manager,  there were just too many people depending upon him to be there for them.    A normally seven-hour trip on Sunday became  a ten-hour challenge.

We enjoyed the beautiful winter scenery at the beginning of our trip.   The Great Lakes that we passed were white, as far out  as the eye could see, and the shore was lined with huge white chunks of frozen churned-up waves.    The sky was white with overcast, and the forest was white, with  dark green outlines of the evergreens adding contrast and beauty.

But night came quickly:

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We had a couple HUNDRED miles of this!

It was easier if we were able to follow another car:

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Finally, near home, we took a “left turn”   at Michigan State University:

SAMSUNGWasn’t much “university” there.     In fact,  this Big Ten university closed down the next day, along with other colleges and schools –  and nearly everything else.    Many of the entrances to parking lots and side streets were blocked by cars hung up on the snow that hadn’t yet been plowed away.    People were trying to push their cars or shovel them out –  not very successfully, as we went by.

Leaving the bright lights of the city,  we found the “main road”  to my home:

SAMSUNG And then we pushed our way into my own subdivision where we found the snow a little deeper:

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What was on our minds?     Home soon!   We can finally relax and get warm!

But it was not to be:

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We had some work to do before we could even get into the driveway.

I was grateful to Son for doing the driving and almost all the shoveling, but – in this day of texting –  he knew what he had facing him when he got to his own home:   his own driveway would have to be shoveled and a friend next door was stuck in his driveway. . . .

When morning came, I saw the snow:

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Snow drifts on my deck.   I know I ought to be worried about the deck collapsing,   but for now, it’s really interesting to look at.   I was curious to see how deep it was, so I stuck a yardstick in the snow on the table:

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That’s 18 inches.

Yep.  That was a good snowstorm!